Friday, 10 April 2009

Forgotten Stories - Loel Yeo and Hylton Cleaver


Patti Abbott’s ‘Forgotten’ series focuses this week on short stories. I’ve decided to highlight two obscure but marvellous stories by unknown authors which I’d never heard of until they were exhumed by Jack Adrian in his brilliant anthology Detective Stories from the Strand Magazine. This collection was published in 1991 and benefited from an introduction by the great Julian Symons. Adrian, who is clearly very knowledgeable about the genre, also credited the support of his editor at OUP, Michael Cox, whose untimely death last week I noted on Saturday.

In ‘Inquest’ by Loel Yeo, a chance meeting on a train with a man last seen two years earlier leads to revelations about an inquest and its aftermath. Nobody seems to know anything about Yeo – Symons thought the name ‘surely a pseudonym?’ Certainly, this is a very good story indeed.

‘By Kind Permission of the Murdered Man’ by Hylton Cleaver is equally impressive, a sort of variation on the old ‘perfect crime’ theme. I’d never heard of Cleaver either, but according to Adrian, an industrious and impressive researcher, he wrote mainly boys’ fiction, with a few well-crafted crime stories for adults on the side.

Yeo’s story first appeared in the magazine in 1932; Cleaver’s came out two years later. But despite their age, these stories definitely deserve to be remembered, as do the rest of the entries in Adrian’s book.

14 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thank goodness people come along and find and publish these gems.

Cullen Gallagher said...

I haven't heard of either of these writers before - thanks for pointing them out! Sounds like a great anthology.

David Cranmer said...

Another unknown to me. Thanks.

Martin Edwards said...

Thank you all. It is a great anthology, with plenty of good editorial material, as well as classic stories.

vegetableduck said...

Everyone thinks Loel Yeo is a pseudonym, but no one yet has discovered the true man (woman?). Hmmm.....

Martin Edwards said...

Any suggestions, Curt? I don't think it was John Rhode!

Göran R Buckhorn said...

Hylton Cleaver was not only an author of crime stories and books for boys, he was also a sport journalist for the "Evening Standard" and an authority on rowing. It is as the latter he is known to me.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Goran. If you know any more about him, do let me know.

Göran R Buckhorn said...

Hylton Cleaver wrote some crime stories and around 50 books for boys, and his work also appeared in boys’ magazines like "Chums", "Modern Boy", and "Boy’s Own Paper". I have found a very nice article by William Crewdson about Cleaver and his books in the magazine "Antiquarian Book Monthly", Number 3, March 2001.

Anonymous said...

Loel Yeo is Leonora Cazalet née Wodehouse, stepdaughter of infamous English author, playwright, etc P.G.Wodehouse. Information is pretty scarce!

Martin Edwards said...

Brilliant, Anonymous, a mystery solved! What is the source of this info, may I ask?

Anonymous said...

It is mentioned very briefly as a footnote in Yours, Plum, a collection of P.G.Wodehouse's letters. In one 1931 letter, it is told that she sold a short story and an article, but I do not know what else was published (if anything). Apparently quite gifted but not so prolific a writer.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks - this is fascinating.

John McCarthy said...

I used to read all Hylton Cleaver's public school books as a working class boy from Hither Green. Different world but the cricket was the same. Still recall the books and the Manor House library with affection. Thanks for reminding me again.